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Posts tagged ‘behaviour’

Amazing vs. Insanity. Your Choice.

Here’s a challenge for you:
Go outside and find the best possible stick.

Why aren’t you going? Perhaps because the request is ridiculous. What do I mean by “the best possible stick”? For doing what? Digging? Toasting marshmallows? Poking a weasel? A stick that’s ideal for one purpose might be useless for another. And that is why the “comparing mind” is:

insane green2

If your energy and time is spent just being a little bit better than the next person, you miss out on getting to be better for you.  Being better than someone else keeps the bar low and keeps you from exploring the depths of what you can be:

YOU’LL NEVER KNOW HOW AMAZING YOU CAN BE!

Last week we talked about fruit salad and not comparing the sweet vs. the tart, the colourful vs. the bland: just enjoy how every different juicy morsel brings a new surprise in every single bite, and contributes something special to the overall tasty satisfaction. Life can be sweet or tart; you may be colourful or bland: together, your inherent nature and the nurture of your thoughts will drive your future – with a few choice choices from you.

Martha Beck has a few choice words for you; and I like what blogger Tera Warner has to say:

Who cares what they say about the things you should do or say and how you should live your life?!  Be inspired by the lives of others, but do not follow their path and pretend it’s your own. The most valuable be you SUPERDOGthing you have is not your health, it’s not your time, it’s not your purse, your car, your fancy pants designer jeans or even your friends.

It is your self-determinism – your ability to choose the path you take in life, make your own decisions and stand for the things that you believe in. In a world where we’ve been fed a deep-fried, glitter-coated version of what Life should be, how it should work, and told to whom we should defer our power, creativity and authentic expression, it takes some serious [insert male/female sex organs here] to think for yourself! Question what you hear and stand in your truth, no matter how lonely it feels to do so sometimes!

Are You an Apple, Orange or… Bananas?

If you can’t stop comparing yourself to others, you’ve got a case of what Asian philosophers call “monkey mind”, and, honey, it will only drive you bananas.
adapted from article by Martha Beck

Our ability to rank-order things is invaluable in making choices and setting priorities. But problems arise when comparing mind is the only mode of perception we access. Every gathering, conversation, or friendship becomes a stressful contest: Will I “win” in this situation, or will someone else turn out to be prettier, smarter, richer, thinner…in a word, better?

This way of thinking is absurd, because outside the realm of human perception, the concept of better is MEANINGLESS!  This makes comparing mind a setup for failure. Even if you can be the world’s best at one thing, you’ll be the world’s worst at something else, case in point:

Supermodels make pathetic sumo wrestlers.

A brilliant orator who speaks only one language
sounds like a babbling fool in another.

If you spent your life mastering all languages, you might still suck at engineering, croquet, watercolor, etc. Since comparing mind hates being less than best at anything, you lose. Always.

Comparing is insane.It seems that no matter where you are on the planet, the competitive madness was bred into your cells and reinforced in countless social interactions. But you can learn to watch for comparing mind or “monkey mind” to appear, and to notice when it starts tainting your life. Like a virus, it generally sneaks up on you unseen; what you’ll observe are its symptoms. Here are some telltale diagnostics:

Next: Is Your Mind Going Ape? (page 2)

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Trusting Life: Just Could Be Your Big Break!

We hear repeatedly from people that they would not change their past for anything – even in the case of tragedies. The reason most given: the lessons learned brought their life to a beautiful place that they never could have even imagined. Do we really need to go through some of these experiences – over and over, to learn some of our lessons?? (I can think of a few I wouldn’t have minded skipping!) I believe the answer is in fact: NO- if we had been living more consciously to begin with… and had identified the first warning signs. But alas, paraphrasing Oprah: first you hear the whisper, then the nudge, then you get a brick upside yo’ head – then the whole damn brick wall falls down all around yo’self!!! Our intuition and our subconscious sees and feels things that aren’t right for us before our conscious mind does, and either creates or tunes into the warnings. If we are living mindlessly, we miss the signs again and again; with practice at being still, listening to our souls, checking in with our bodies, we become more adept at sensing these signs, and believing them the first time!

I came across this fun story of Mark Schulman, a philanthropist and renowned drummer for folks like Foreigner, Billy Idol, Pink, and a situation that he found himself in that could have sent a brick wall tumbling on his career. His story of grace is a reminder of the power of intuition and our choices, and how attitude really can break us – or bring the big break to us.

Mark Schulman

Aaay Oh…Attitude of Opportunity

by Mark Schulman

Be independent of the
good opinion of others!

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

I was rehearsing at the infamous and now defunct, Leed’s Rehearsal Studios in 1992, hired by a local artist with money to do a showcase. While rehearsing, I befriended the manager of Leeds who suggested I audition for Foreigner. I had been a big fan of the band years earlier. At the time I was also touring on and off with an R& B artist named Bobby Caldwell who was known for writing, producing and playing every instrument on his big hit, What You Won’t Do For Love. I loved playing with Bobby. I am a hard hitting drummer and Bobby actually asked me to play harder at one point; I have loved him ever since.

I auditioned for Foreigner in this big airplane hanger. At the time, it was just Mick Jones (the guitar player and founder of the band) and Johnny, the new lead singer/bass player. I was happy with my current situation, so I felt no sense of the desperation or urgency musicians sometimes feel when they are between gigs. This gave me an advantage because I decided to have fun instead of feeling pressure to get the job. This lack of attachment to an outcome was empowering. Because of this Attitude, I just had fun. We jammed on all new song ideas. Mick was not interested in hearing me play any old Foreigner tunes, he just wanted to see what we could create now, and how much fun we could have. I had no idea at the time that the session was being recorded.

Yes you!I also had the Attitude that I was auditioning them. This may sound strange, but by then, as I was in a fortunate place at the time, I decided to be only interested in situations that suited me.

I decided to be more selective about what I allowed into my life.

I believe they sensed this. I also believe that it made me more appealing to the band.

When we listened back to the recordings, we were rockin’. We hung out a bit more, I thanked them for the experience and I left. Within a few days, I got a call from Foreigner’s management telling me that they had narrowed it down to me and another drummer. They wanted to bring us both into the studio for a full day of recording to see how our talents translated on tape. The following week, I went into a studio in Silverlake, California and recorded for about 12 hours. I had fun, they had fun and apparently they were quite happy with my Attitude, Behavior and the recorded tracks. A few days later, I got a call from management to let me know that I was the new drummer for Foreigner.

Strangely, a month passed with no word from Foreigner’s management. Glad I had kept all of my current irons in the fire. I kept working with Bobby Caldwell and playing gigs and sessions in L.A. Finally Kevin Jones, Mick’s brother (and road manager) called with the news that the original singer, the infamous, Lou Gramm was returning to the band. The silence was because they were negotiating the details of his return.

At this point, I was genuinely excited! Lou was the voice of Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded, Urgent and I Want to Know What Love Is…This situation now became quite an opportunity for me. The band renegotiated their deal with Atlantic records and hired new management. They had grand plans to record and release a new record and put together a world tour. Additionally, they wanted to make me and the other sidemen, Bruce, Jeff and Thom, actual band members! Up to this point in my career with signed acts; I had always been a hired gun, an employee. This was actualizing one of my childhood dreams of being in a famous band. Then things got strange.

ForeignerAgain, I didn’t hear from the Foreigner camp for many weeks. I was the new drummer of Foreigner, but I heard on the street that Foreigner was recording some new tracks. When I heard this, I immediately called Kevin Jones to find out what was happening. Kevin sheepishly confessed that they hired a producer named Keith Forsey to co-write and produce some new tracks. Keith was the original drummer for Donna Summer in the Disco era and became the protégé for famed producer, Giorgio Moroder. His first major production project was a new solo artist named Billy Idol. Keith facilitated Billy’s success and co-wrote and produced some of Billy’s biggest hits. He also played the drums on Dancin with Myself.

Keith had not heard of me and as a drummer himself, he was quite discriminating about the drum tracks. He chose to bring in his preferred recording drummer, Tal Bergman (a fantastic drummer/producer who has since become another friend of mine) to record with Foreigner. As you can imagine, I was floored to hear this. I felt like my girlfriend had just cheated on me and everyone know but me!

This turned out to be a defining moment for me,
a moment of reaction versus opportunity.

In as much as I felt like screaming, kicking and punching someone, I chose to ask Kevin for Keith’s number. He was a bit caught off guard, but he gave it to me anyway.

I got off the phone and called Keith before my mind could come up with reasons not to! I figured that by now, he must at least know my name. I was on a mission. I believed that this gig was mine and I was going to do whatever I could to own it. There were many things out of my control, but there were definitely things within the realm of what I could do…

Next: Aghh! What Happened to Mark?? (page 2)

Oh – You Want To Be Happy TOO??

Ever Gotten What You Wanted…
But It Didn’t Make You Happy?

Humans just SO messed up somewhere along the way.  Society…parenting…education system – no point in sourcing blame, just follow Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” philosophy, I reckon.  I’m referring to our belief that we have to compare materialismourselves to anyone or anything. There’s a predominant conditioning in these parts that our lives (thus happiness) are measured in stages of development and accomplishments – and man, doesn’t that make the years fly?!!  Baby should be walking by X, talking by X… and all of a sudden you have this little person – when did that happen?  You master the alphabet by Y and algebra by Z – then suddenly you should be grown up… and you need to have a career, a partner, money in the bank and a retirement plan… and when you beat yourself up for another 20 years for not having all of that by 30 – because that’s OLD and you SHOULD, your negative thoughts and their impact on your body set you up perfectly for illness; and if you don’t die then, you try so hard to mash all of your bucket list into the next 10 years and enjoy yourself – dammit, that you’re too exhausted to revel in the golden years that you worked your a** off for – then you die. Sure, there are some happy moments in there – but are they really?  With so many adults struggling at 40-50-60 to still figure out “who” they are – something is fundamentally wrong.  “YOU” is innate; happiness is innate: we’re born that way because we’re suppose to live that way.  We humans mess it up with our mindless thinking and pointless, soul-raping comparisons.

Howz about we re-write the plan a little.  Parents are all full of the “you are perfect just the way you are, honey – you can be whatever you want to be” mantra – – but here it comes… in your head without skipping a beat… the conditioned ending to that thought: “but only if you demonstrate that you reach XYZ by XYZ timeframe just like Olivia in your class”. Silent, but  loud.  You’d never say that to the kids, I know, but face it, there is no “modelling” if YOU don’t know who YOU are, folks: you have to live it to sell it to the kids. Let’s work on a subtle shift of awareness – pay attention; SUPPORT your kid to really BE who they are. Let’s permit and assist them – and each other, to take this inborn identity and play with it, explore it, and do with it whatever is so chosen.  Milestones are great – but pick out a few flat ones to skip in the river: it just might amaze you.  A good start is to abandon the need for comparison to any other person, norm, median measurement in our life philosophies; and while making this transition within our measurement-crazy society, let’s reinforce any type of “assessment” to be perceived as a personal goal to attain higher knowledge or skill – – and to make it commonplace that we personally buy into any goal in the first place as something desired to enhance our own life or spirit.

Dr. Judith Wright has a relatable view on the subject, including a perspective within the workplace:

And I want it delivered

I had gotten what I wanted by my late 20s. I had set–and met–my goals; I had gotten all A’s, achieved career success, lost weight, had a handsome boyfriend, volunteered, and was doing good work in the world developing model programs for people with disabilities.

I had what I wanted–but I was unfulfilled. Dissatisfied. I expected that I’d be thrilled, but I was far from it. Even though my friends said I had it all and how lucky I was, I didn’t feel lucky. Then I felt guilty that this wasn’t enough and I thought I needed to do better, do more, be better.

So, I worked harder and partied more and achieved more goals and lost more weight and bought more cool stuff and did more cool stuff and I still wasn’t satisfied. I still felt that nagging emptiness.

It turns out I was miswanting–what positive psychologists say is wanting something that you mistakenly think will make you happy, with an emphasis on MISTAKEN.

We all do it. We are what scientists call poor “affective forecasters”—which means we pretty much suck at predicting what will make us happy.

I was getting what I wanted, but that wasn’t making me happy, satisfied, or fulfilled. And I found out I wasn’t alone in this. So many people were coming to our company for coaching Having everything you desire is not normalor personal and professional development trainings who seemed to have it all—great accomplishments, busy lives filled with great activities—but just like me they felt empty and unfulfilled, like something was missing. We thought the secret to happiness is to set and meet new goals, get another promotion, buy a new place, do yoga and meditate, do a seminar and our vision boards, tone our bodies and volunteer, scout for cool places to go to and cool people to go with…

Yet, none of these things will make us happy unless we unlock the real secret of happiness– which is not about getting what we want, but about fulfilling our yearnings.

The act of wanting gives a dopamine high, that anticipation of reward, that quick buzz, the rush of excitement, that burst of energy… but it doesn’t make us happy or provide long-term fuel of fulfillment. It doesn’t keep us warm at night, make us love our lives, help us respect and be proud of who we are when we look in the mirror, or make us satisfied about our contribution to the world or the legacy we’ll leave at the end of our lives.

Yearning is the true desire under all of our activity, all our goals, all those stabs at self improvement—the yearnings we all have to love and be loved, to be seen and heard, to touch and be touched, to matter, to connect, to belong, to excel, to make a difference. We want to get that promotion, but chances are we yearn to be seen, affirmed, or respected. We want to check our Facebook page, but at a deeper level we yearn to connect.

Believe - you already have it all

And when we are in touch with that deeper yearning, and know what we truly desire, everything shifts. Then we aren’t doing things so that when we get it, achieve it, or buy it we’ll be happy. We start to do things that meet our yearnings directly, and then we find that we actually accomplish more and we are more nourished and fulfilled in the process. When we are with a client or on a sales call, we focus on our yearning to connect, and we serve that client more deeply and tend to make more sales as a result. Whether we are making dinner or making love or making widgets, we are aware of our yearning to nourish and be nourished, to love and be loved, or to excel. The process is fulfilling and we’re not just waiting for the result or…uh…the climax, to be satisfied.

I discovered that I really yearned to love and be loved, to matter, to belong, to make a difference. And, that I was trying to “earn” love by my achievements and trying to prove I mattered through my accomplishments. I saw that what would really satisfy me wasn’t just doing more, or being better, or partying more; it was deeper. It was being present to what I yearned for inside my heart, being more conscious, feeling more fully.

Guess he missed the point.

By focusing on the goal,
I was missing the point.

By following my yearning, I’m more satisfied and fulfilled and meeting more “goals” than I could have imagined. I’m discovering things I wouldn’t have even been able to state as a goal before. It’s like I’m emerging and transforming as I stretch and engage in life to meet my yearnings. Rather than waiting for some future outcome, I’m more spontaneous and in the moment. It’s a messier way to live, I’m not so “perfect,” and I make a lot of mistakes by experimenting on the journey, but it’s a juicier, more exciting, more fulfilling way to live.

My yearnings while writing this? To share, to connect, to make a difference, and hopefully, to ignite some yearnings in you. Forget what we want, let’s go for what we yearn for instead.

Yearn, baby, yearn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

adapted from The Daily Love Blog, June 20, 2013

Judith WrightJUDITH is hailed as a peerless educator, world-class coach, lifestyles expert, inspirational speaker, best-selling author, and corporate consultant. She is called one of America’s Ultimate Experts”, featured on 20/20, Oprah, the Today show, and in Marie Claire, Fitness, and Health as well as The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, and The Detroit Free Press. Judith is the author of The One Decision and The Soft Addiction Solution. Judith’s latest venture is as president of The Wright Graduate Institute for the Realization of Human Potential.

If There Was a Door to an Extraordinary Life…

Reach for what you want.Would You Open It?

Duh!  It seems the obvious answer doesn’t it?

Now, what if there was some manageable pain involved – would that be a fair compromise, or would that be a dealbreaker? Hmmmm. The answer still seems pretty obvious, but obvious does not mean simple.

Coach and author Barrie Davenport has a great blog Live Bold and Bloom, where she shares both her philosophy and those of guest authors on taking action to create your best life. She shares a love of the quote by Anais Nin that I have chosen as one of my personal mantras, (on sidebar at right), and states her personal mission as follows:

I’ve learned that the only way to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually, is by stretching yourself. Not by practicing Yoga (although that’s a great stretch too!), but by doing something that might not feel natural at first. In fact, it might feel a bit uncomfortable. It’s easy to live inside our closed up buds. But wouldn’t you rather open up and bloom gloriously? Wouldn’t you rather live the life of your dreams instead of just dreaming about it? Part of my life dream is helping others discover their own. That is my calling.”

This is an article by Barrie, encouraging us to take action in our lives; pick even one area and stretch your awareness, your potential, your self… and thus your enjoyment of life.  (I especially like the find a mentor part!!)

20 Ways to Stretch Yourself

by Barrie Davenport

“Sound when stretched is music. Movement when stretched is dance. Mind when stretched is meditation. Life when stretched is celebration.” ~Shri Shri Ravishankar Jee

How much do you want from life? Right now, stop for a moment and think about one word you would use to describe your life today. Got it? If you knew you could open a door that would lead you to an even more fulfilling and extraordinary life, would you open it? What if there was some manageable pain involved? Well, here’s the good news and the bad news: that door does exist, but almost always, the pain does to.

All growth involves some level of discomfort. But the discomfort is short-lived. The growth is forever.

Where the magic happens.If you view life as a circle, most of us live  inside that circle where everything is comfortable and familiar. Occasionally, we might be forced outside by unexpected circumstances, and the brave among us might take a moment to look around at this new and scary landscape. But mostly, we scurry back to the safety of our circle.

Here’s a truth you already know: really bold leaps in our personal growth and quality of life happen only when step outside of that circle and keep walking.

The world has so much to offer — great adventures, interesting people, beauty, learning, emotional development, profound experiences. And we have such a short time on this planet — somewhere around 30,000 days if we live to our mid-eighties.

Why do we resist stretching ourselves beyond our circles when real living is on the other side?

Here are some of the reasons:

  • We fear the unknown. It might be worse than what we have now.
  • We fear failure and looking bad in the eyes of others.
  • We fear success. It will require more of us.
  • We have limiting beliefs about what we “should” do and can do.
  • We don’t believe we are deserving.
  • We don’t want to offend other people.
  • We can’t or won’t imagine how truly amazing life could be.
  • We think it will require resources we don’t have.
  • We don’t like discomfort.

On that 30,000th day, don’t look back on your life and say, “If only. . . .” Life is a string of “right nows.” Whatever it is that you hope might happen in the future won’t happen unless you are doing something about it right in this very moment. Living outside of your circle doesn’t mean you have to go climb Mt. Everest or make a million dollars (unless that’s what you want to do). It does mean shifting up to the next level. Some stretches might move you forward a little, and some might propel you into an entirely new world. Both are good. All forward movement is good.

The key is to take action. Don’t sit around waiting for something to happen in your life. Make it happen.

Here are some practical ideas for doing just that:

1.  Start with awareness. By reading this article, you are probably thinking about your life and how it could be better, more exceptional. Recognize right now that more is possible for you, and it can be achieved.

2.  Access what you want. What do you want to achieve, learn, accomplish, enjoy and understand? Create a list with categories for career, family, travel, self-development, education or any others that apply to your life. Under each category, write down your heart’s desire — without limitations.

Leap List

3.  Pick your top five. Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything on your list. You will not be able to do everything. But you can do many things and still make your life profoundly better. For now, pick your top five, but hold on to your list.

4.  Pick something easy. Create momentum and excitement by starting with an easy goal. Something that won’t involve too much of a stretch. Maybe it’s a trip you’ve wanted to take or a class you have been thinking about. Choose one item from your stretch list. When it’s completed, start with the next goal.

5.  For now, don’t think. Just start taking small actions. Write down everything to accomplish your goal — from making calls, saving money, setting appointments, doing research. Don’t over-think it or question yourself.  Make your action list and then just do it. One action at a time.

6.  Challenge assumptions. Fear and self-doubt will creep in. You must challenge assumptions and negative thinking. If you keep thinking you can’t do something, or you aren’t smart enough, then you are creating a self-fulfilling cycle of inertia. Even if you don’t feel confident, pretend that you do. Mentally resist when you start negative self-talk, and switch gears to thinking, “I can, I will.”

Well I Try!7.  Befriend failure. Begin to view failure as a friend, not an enemy. We are not handed a road map to explore new territory. We set out on our adventure with a hazy view of the way forward. We may take wrong turns, but we have to take them to find the correct path. Love every failure, because it is part of growth. If you avoid failure, you are restricting your life.

8.  Make it public. This is a real stretch, but a very successful one. When you begin a new goal or challenge, tell someone — anyone, everyone. Make it public. Now, you are accountable. It is human nature, when others are watching you, you will work harder. If you are serious about doing something, tell people. And tell them your deadline.

9.  Find a mentor!!!! Find someone who will inspire you to move forward; someone you can feel safe with, connect with, ask questions and advice. Maybe find someone whose life you want to emulate; study that person; learn how they accomplished and achieved.

10.  Look stupid. Be willing to reveal what you don’t know. Everyone has areas of ignorance. Truly smart people are eager to learn and willing to expose their lack of knowledge. Once you get past that embarrassment, the learning is the easy part!

Ignore judgemental people.11.  Ignore other people. Strive to detach from what other people think about you. People spend more time thinking about themselves anyway. The first and main person you have to please is yourself. Then your family and maybe a few close friends who are authentic. After that, you are chasing your tail. What other people think doesn’t matter.

12. Stop resisting. Remember the old pinball machines? You’d pull a lever and the ball would bounce off walls as it sought it’s way forward. Approach life that way. You are going to hit obstacles — whether it’s negative people or circumstances. Instead of resisting, move in a different direction. Bad things happen along the path, but don’t get stuck in them. Move away from them.

13. Think creatively. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. As you approach a goal or action step, challenge yourself to find a bigger, better, or different way. The internet is an amazing resource for this. Look at what others are doing. Steal ideas and make them your own. Think big. Now think bigger.

14. Remove distractions. Whatever you are working on, work on that one thing. Don’t get distracted by emails, phone calls, other pending projects, or intruding extraneous thoughts. Focus on the task at hand, every single time.

15. Simplify everything. In order to achieve what will take you to the next level, you have to let go of what’s tethering you to the mundane. Begin some mental, emotional, and mental housekeeping. Where are you spending time that is draining your energy and resources? Are you spending time caring for material things that don’t contribute to a better quality of life? Do you have too many mindless tasks? Start eliminating these things, and free up tons of valuable time.

Whatcha got to lose??16. Try new things. Whenever you have the opportunity, try something new. A new hobby, new friends, a new type of book, a new idea. Expose yourself to different ways of doing things and thinking about things. Find new environments for learning. This will open new pathways to growth that you never knew existed.

17. Set a big challenge. Chris Guillebeau, the founder of the blog The Art of Non-Conformity, has set the astounding goal of visiting every country in the world (except those in turmoil) by the time he’s 35. He is 32 now. He chronicles his adventures for his blog followers. Create a big challenge for yourself, just for the fun of it. If you don’t make it, big deal. But if you do . . . .

18. Join a community. There’s lots of support out there for whatever you are doing. Get involved in a group of like-minded people who can cheer you on, inspire you, offer input and provide support.

19. Acknowledge yourself. Every step forward should be celebrated. We get so mired in the doing that we forget the being. Take time to ponder the growth you have made and the goals you have achieved. Share these achievements with family and friends. Write them down. You are becoming a different person.

20. Enjoy the process. As you take steps to stretch yourself and create a better life, don’t forget to savor the “right now.” The process of growth is forever, so you will always be in process. All you really have is this very moment — this is your life, so see the beauty in it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
posted June 10, 2010 Barrie Davenport is a personal and career coach and founder of Live Bold and Bloom, a blog about fearless living. She is the author of the free e-book, How to Have a Meaningful Life.

Depression Cafe

Embrace change.Life, please…
with a side order of dysthymia…

This week’s post outlined a typical path for learning about what happens when you have a diagnosis of depression.  As way of subsidy, here is a menu of TYPES of depression diagnoses; ranging from sneakily disruptive to life-threatening, diagnosing and dealing is your quickest and best route to living your best life.
Following is an edited snippet that proved to be quite thorough and user-friendly (based on the DSM IV, the “bible” of mental health diagnostics) from one of the hundreds of good sites available to explore this issue.

This post and links are for general information only; your mental health practitioner has the latest “official” diagnostic info relative to your interests. 

3 Common Types of Depression
and 3 Less Common

Here is a quick list of the 6 different types of depression:

  1. Major depressive disorder
  2. Manic depression (bipolar disorder)
  3. Dysthymic depression
  4. Endogenous depression
  5. Situational depression
  6. Psychotic depression

The three less common different types of depression (4-6) only differ slightly from the general category of major depressive disorder:

Endogenous depression is referred to on many sites, thus it’s inclusion here, but has actually become a defunct category, formerly interpreted as stemming from purely inherent biological causes (in DNA). Current research in neuropsychology can now link biochemistry with the influence of “thought”, connecting it more closely with situational depression. Biochemical changes are inherent in all depression diagnoses: some need management long-term including drug therapy; some short-term where talk therapy may suffice and perhaps adding limited drug therapy.
Situational depression, often called adjustment disorder, is a short-term condition that occurs when a person is unable to cope with, or adjust to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss, or event.
Psychotic depression is an extreme form of depression in which the low mood states are often accompanied by delusions or even complete hallucinations. Delusions can include the sufferer feeling guilty for something which they are not really responsible for.
Continue Reading→ 3 Most Common Depressions (page 2)

Diagnosis: Depression. Huh?

I don't understand.Following up on Harley’s personal story in last week’s post “Depression: The Immaculate Conception“, some of you have inquired about diagnosing depression. There are many approaches to this discussion, but if you suspect a mood disorder in yourself or a loved one, the best step is to seek the opinion of a professional: HUMAN BEING!! Specifically, your family physician or a mental health authority are the most common routes to start. Research all you want, but the earlier a diagnosis, the less stress in wondering about it and the quicker you can find an action plan. Please beware, not all GP’s have more than the limited med school education in mental health treatments, and while they certainly have adequate experience to get you started, they may not be the best resource for your entire journey. You can only trust your guts on what practitioner works for you, but rule of thumb: if at any point you are looking to abandon your actions to move forward, you should most likely check out a new professional partner… and keep looking until you find someone who feels like they are on your team!

Following is the classic information on diagnosing depression from a local mental health association: CMHA British Columbia division:

Dealing with a Depression Diagnosis

Whaaa...depressed?No one wants to feel unwell. Talking to your doctor or other health professional about problems with your mood is an important first step. But if you’re diagnosed with depression (or major depressive disorder, the medical term for clinical depression), you may end up with more questions than answers.

Being diagnosed with anything can be hard, but a mental health diagnosis can be particularly hard to deal with. You might wonder why this has happened to you and how a diagnosis will affect your life. But no matter what, it’s important to remember that you are not your diagnosis—you are a person that happens to be dealing with depression.

The medical system may not be the only way to deal with depression. You don’t have to adopt a strictly medical point of view—some people find it helpful, but others don’t. But you will likely have to work with people in the medical systems, such as doctors and mental health professionals, to access treatme
nts and other forms of support. This system is based on the process of looking at your signs, symptoms and test results to find answers. The first step is generally to clarify the diagnosis—what may appear to be a mental disorder may instead be an unexpected medical condition. The diagnosis is how health professionals organize the problem you experience. It’s the start of a process to get you feeling better.
Continue Reading: Why Me?…What the Heck IS It??? (page 2)

Depression: An Immaculate Conception

Thoughts create reality.

My last post featuring an article by Dr. Lissa Rankin featuring functional medicine, raised awareness on the mind-body connection, and how once we start to see a connection in our own lives, it becomes like…DUH!!!!… of course there’s a connection! Your relationship with both your body and your GP will be forever changed.

In my personal journey, and that of many clients whom I mentor through clinical depression, it’s pretty clear when the fog lifts that the majority of the experience was in fact within our ability to control outside of the GP’s office. Depression manifests significantly by churning the same thoughts and old limiting beliefs over and over and over. Seriously: a very small number of defeating thoughts percolate incognito hundreds of times throughout the day (and sleep!) with no interruption or reality-check; so of course the party line is, that this is simply the predictable course that depression will take.  Not even close: take comfort.  New mind-body medicine is proving to have outstanding success rate in innumerable health challenges and is being prescribed more and more as the healthcare industry gets up to speed on the research and protocols. Less medication, more meditation.  Like I say on my home page, if I had had experienced mentors to guide me when I was struggling with change and depression, I very likely would have been on a healthy path much, MUCH sooner.  Would life have been better? Doesn’t matter.  My growth from that chapter brought awareness of what I needed to learn: our bodies are made to take care of themselves- so take care of them; our minds drive a great part of our bodies’ decisions- so take care of them; and great support in the form of both self-care and community (preferably as a wellness plan not just a sickness response!) can handle a lot of our life woes (or perceptions thereof!).

That’s not to say that there doesn’t need to be the utmost respect and partnership between evolving perspectives and traditional medicine. Fortunately, BC, where I am based, is beginning to offer more user-friendly information on integrative and functional healing, and the mental health area in particular is really making an effort.  The Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division is one
such progressive resource, and the following is a very personal story of one BC resident who’s journey took just such a walk through varying perspectives of managing his health and life.Sigh.

Continued: Read Harley’s very forthcoming story (page 2)

Who’s The Boss? Mind, Body or…

Lissa Rankin, M.D. has quickly become one of my favorite people to listen to in the area of integrative medicine, particularly as it relates to the state of our minds and thinking. She has a relatable attitude and light-hearted delivery of “new medicine” info that appeases both the impassioned and “evidence-based”  sides of my learning.

A physician, author, speaker, artist, and founder of the online health and wellness community, OwningPink.com, Lissa was discouraged by our broken health-care system; and fueled by a passion to determine what really makes people healthy and what really predisposes them to illness, her research led her to discover that patients have self-healing powers beyond our wildest imaginings, and science proves it. She took this new perspective and dug into the medical literature to study how doctors might better care for patients.  She is a leader encouraging the health-care industry to embrace and facilitate, rather than resist, collaboration reconnecting health care and spirituality, and empowering patients to tap into the mind’s power to heal the body.

For you skeptics and newbies to the idea of integrative medicine, Lissa  shares her scientific findings in her book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself.

Mind…Body…
Friends or Foe?

mind

by Lissa Rankin, MD

What if… I told you that caring for your body is the least important part of your health . . . that for you to be truly vital, other factors are more important?

What if… the key to health isn’t just eating a nutritious diet, exercising daily, maintaining a healthy weight, getting eight hours of sleep, taking your vitamins, balancing your hormones, or seeing your doctor for regular checkups?

Certainly, these are all important, even critical, factors to optimizing your health. But what if something else is even more important?

What if you have the power to heal your body
just by changing how your mind thinks and feels?

I know it sounds radical, especially coming from a doctor. Trust me, I was just as skeptical when I first discovered the scientific research suggesting that this might be true. Surely, I thought, the health of the human body isn’t as simple as thinking ourselves well or worrying ourselves sick.

Or is it?

A few years ago, after 12 years of conventional medical education and 8 years of clinical practice, I had been thoroughly indoctrinated into the dogmatic principles of evidence-based medicine, which I worshipped like the Bible. I refused to trust anything I couldn’t prove with a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Plus, having been raised by my father, a very conventional physician who made fun of anything “New Age,” I was as hard-nosed, closed-minded, and cynical as they come.

doc old

The medicine I had been trained to practice didn’t support the idea that you can think yourself well or make yourself sick with the power of your thoughts and emotions. Sure, my medical-school professors diagnosed some illnesses that lacked biochemical explanations as “all in the patient’s head,” but those patients were promptly and quietly referred to psychiatrists, while eyes were rolled and heads were shook.

It’s no wonder the notion that the mind might have the power to heal the body would be threatening to many mainstream doctors. After all, we spend a decade learning the tools that supposedly give us mastery over other people’s bodies. We want to believe that the time, money, and energy we’ve put into becoming doctors isn’t wasted. We’re professionally and emotionally invested in the idea that if something breaks down physically, you must seek our expertise. As doctors, we like to believe we know your body better than you do. The whole medical establishment is based on such a notion.

Most people are happy to function within this paradigm. The alternative—that you have more power to heal your own body than you’ve ever imagined—lobs the responsibility for health back into your court, and many people feel like that’s just too much responsibility. It’s much easier to hand over your power and hope someone smarter, wiser, and more experienced can “fix” you.

So true!

But what if…
we’ve got it all wrong?

What if…
by denying the fact that the body is naturally wired to heal itself and the mind operates this self-healing system, we’re actually sabotaging ourselves?

As physicians, things inevitably happen on our watch that science simply can’t explain. Even the most closed-minded doctors witness patients who get well when, by every scientific rationale, they shouldn’t. When we witness such things, we can’t help questioning everything we hold dear in modern medicine. We start to wonder if there is something more mystical at play.

Doctors don’t usually discuss this possibility in front of patients, but they do whisper about it in the doctors’ lounges of hospitals and inside conference rooms at Ivy League universities. If you’re curious and you pay attention—like I do—you hear stories, stories that blow your mind.

You hear people whispering about the woman whose cancer shrank away to nothingness during radiation. Only afterward did the doctors discover that the radiation machine was busted. She hadn’t actually received one lick of radiation, but she believed she had. So did her doctors.

miracle energy

They talk about the man who had a heart attack who refused heart surgery only to have his “incurably” blocked coronary arteries open up after changing his diet, beginning an exercise program, doing yoga, meditating daily, and attending group therapy sessions.

As I heard these stories, I couldn’t ignore the gnawing voice within me. Surely, these people couldn’t all be liars. But if they weren’t lying, the only explanation was something beyond what I had learned in conventional medicine.

It got me thinking. We know spontaneous, unexplainable remissions sometimes happen. Every doctor has witnessed them. We just shrug our shoulders and go on about our business, usually accompanied by a dull, unnerving sense of dissatisfaction because we can’t explain the remission with logic.

healing mind

But in the back of my mind, I’ve always pondered whether it’s possible we have any control over this process.

If the “impossible” happens to one person, is there anything we can learn from what that person did?

Are there similarities among the patients who get “lucky”?

Are there ways to optimize the chances of spontaneous remission, especially when effective treatment doesn’t exist in the standard medical toolbox?

And what, if anything, can doctors do to facilitate this process?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recent books by Lissa Rankin, M.D., OwningPink.com.

 Heal yourself.  LissaRankinBooks

Why Worry Is a Choice

-By Deepak Chopra

conflict10

The demands you put on yourself can create more pressure than you know how to handle. Deepak Chopra has a series of articles and strategies to help you break the cycle of anxiety by changing the way you respond to stress, this included:

Anxiety is like a shortcut. When faced with uncertainty, the normal response is to stop, consider what might happen, and make a decision based on the best prediction you can make.

But the anxious person doesn’t go through this process; they jump right towards feeling afraid.

No one enjoys uncertainty. There is always a tinge of anxiousness when you don’t know what the future holds. But going straight into fear is the worst way to handle the situation because fear is almost never a good advisor. It blocks clear decision-making, and exaggerates the risks and dangers that might lie ahead.

If you are an anxious person, you need to stop making the leap into fear. But how do you do that? It requires a new way of approaching uncertainty.

Life is always uncertain, and until you can embrace this fact, you will imagine risks, dangers, and threats that never materialize.

Yet, suffering in your imagination is just as painful—perhaps more painful—since dealing with a crisis is always easier than waiting for one in a state of dread.

The Anxious Self

There are many sides to me.

Many spiritual traditions speak of separation as the real cause of human misery. Depending on your school of belief, separation can mean being apart from God, your soul, or the higher self/consciousness. But the terminology isn’t important; even the word “spiritual” isn’t crucial. What is crucial is that people are divided inside. One part of the self opposes another part. With guilt, the good fights against the bad. With anxiety, the strong part of the self is at war with the weak part.

When a situation arises that can be handled well, the strong part feels confident, competent, in charge and in control. When uncertainty crops up, the weak part feels afraid, helpless, and hopeless. Anxious people never settle this inner conflict. They are so divided that when they feel afraid, the weak part is “the real me.” When they are not afraid, the strong part is “the real me.” In fact, neither is the real self. The real self is beyond conflict; it is whole and at peace. So the long-term approach to anxiety is to rise above the inner war to find a self that is more whole.

What self-judgment really sounds like

When the self is divided and in conflict, there is always a hidden aspect of judgment against the self. Anxious people judge against themselves so much that they usually seek a stronger person to handle the uncertainties and difficulties that seem so overwhelming. It can certainly mask the problem for a while to marry a strong spouse or rely on a powerful parent. But finding a substitute isn’t the same as finding yourself. Anxious people are blocked from finding themselves because they quickly run into self-judgment, and this makes them even more insecure. Self-judgment is the voice inside that says:

STOP. You are good enough.

“You can’t handle it. Remember the last time you fell apart?
This time will be the same.”

“You’re too weak. Inside you’re still a helpless child. Other people stand on their own, but not you.”

“You aren’t smart enough. Other people can find the right solution, but not you. You just stand there looking blank.”

“You aren’t good enough. All these fearful things are a punishment. You deserve what you get.”

As you can see, to live with a divided self is misery and anxious people dread themselves more than their imaginary dangers. The main thing they dread is anxiety, of course, but anxiety is more than a bad sensation. It is rooted in the weak self that quickly jumps to conclusions. The first part of healing is to realize what is going on. The second part is to identify with the real you; then the war inside will be irrelevant.

Your real self is always present, but it’s masked by the trappings of everyday existence. Whether you recognize it or not, everyone lives in a state of separation, which means the divided self is the one you identify with. People with anxiety have a tougher time than others, but even the healthiest and most secure person is divided. If you weren’t, you would be in contact with God, the soul, or the higher self twenty-four hours a day. I mention this only to emphasize that moving out of the divided state doesn’t happen overnight. Any anxious person needs to learn how to deal with fear and panic on a day-to-day basis while at the same time never losing sight of the long-range goal: finding the real self.

How to Move Towards Healing

Escapism is healthy - sometimes

You can’t find something if you are looking in the wrong place. This holds especially true for the real self, because we all look for solutions from our divided self, and then we trust its answers. For anxious people, fear is actually a kind of solution. It provides a shortcut. It keeps the person vigilant. It gives the feeling of being concerned, engaged, and busy. And since fear is unwelcome, it drives people into all kinds of escapist activities. Every distraction from alcohol and drugs to television and movies is constantly available. It’s no surprise that millions of people would rather accommodate their lives to being afraid rather than seeking authentic healing.

Yet real healing does exist. Because anxious people are insecure, they need to pursue a path to healing that reinforces itself.

Outside help is valuable, of course, but anxious people tend to use stronger people as crutches; that’s where impartial mentors and counsellors can be extremely useful.

The trick here, though,  is to accept that self-healing is the only way. Once you can accept this truth, which is quite painful to anyone in a state of insecurity and fear, the next part is to keep reinforcing the process. Every day needs to be seen objectively as a step in the right direction.

The daily checklist to end anxiety

One method is to keep a simple daily log to track the positive things you did to abate your anxiety. For the sake of being realistic, it’s also good to record the negative things, but avoid the urge to become discouraging or self-pitying. Rather than keeping a full-fledged journal, which most people can’t find the time to sustain after a few weeks or months, make your log a simple check list, ticking off what went right and what went wrong. You can insert comments if you like at the bottom of the page.

Affirmations WORK!

POSITIVES

I stood up for myself, I spoke my mind.

I felt strong.

I had a moment of being real with someone.

I dealt with a panicky moment.

I started to feel anxious but it didn’t progress.

I felt optimistic about myself.

I had hope for the future.

I felt some peace and calm.

I survived a difficult situation.

I appreciated myself; I congratulated myself.

I felt worthy; my esteem was high.

I didn’t fall into my usual reaction.

I had a bright idea.

The world seemed like a safe place to be.

I felt accepted.

I didn’t cling to anyone or use them as a crutch.

I faced a difficult choice.

There is hope.

NEGATIVES

I didn’t stand up for myself; I wanted to speak my mind but didn’t.

I felt weakness.

I didn’t get real with anyone.

I suffered through one or more panic attacks.

I had a lot of low-level anxiety that didn’t go away.

I felt pessimistic about myself.

The future looked hopeless.

I felt no peace and calm.

I caved in to a difficult situation.

I criticized myself and fell into self-judgment.

I felt unworthy; my esteem was low.

I related to people who made me feel bad about myself.

I gave in to someone else’s negative views.

I didn’t feel safe.

I felt rejected.

I was clingy.

I procrastinated and put off a difficult choice.

I wanted someone to rescue me.

I kept wishing that things would get better on their own.

The key to breaking the cycle of anxiety

If you decide to include the negative roster, be sure to note if the items you have checked Take time for yourself.off are improving. Negatives can be useful if they show you what you are moving away from, but they’re not useful if you use them to fuel your self-judgment, since self-judgment is the root of the problem.

It’s key to have more positive events than negative ones. Happiness is built up by having good days, not by reaching for an unattainable ideal in the future. The same is true for being non-anxious. You must find it today, as best you can. By paying attention to your anxiety one day at a time, the hidden healing processes in your mind and your body can begin to work, because you are giving them a real opening here and now.

In the end, however, the best healer is the real self.

It is found by walking your own path: call it the path to self-awareness, God, or higher consciousness – whatever appellation works for you.

The methods for discovery have been outlined in all the world’s wisdom traditions. First and foremost, you need to make a real connection with the level of peace, silence, and security that lies beneath the turbulence of daily stress and strain. The most reliable method is meditation. If that seems unworkable, then sit for fifteen minutes twice a day in a quiet place, close your eyes and breathe. Place your attention on your heart and simply be. If you notice that your thoughts have distracted you, breathe again and once more place your attention on your heart.

This technique will accustom you to being with yourself. Anxious people misjudge being alone. They identify it with fear, loneliness, and insecurity. That’s perfectly understandable given their history of fear. But being alone is your ground state, the basis of your existence. It’s not your enemy. It’s not a danger zone. So take some time to undo the mistaken judgment that alone and lonely are the same. They aren’t. The doorway to a lifetime of safety, security, and self-worth lies at the level of the real self, and you were born to open it.

adapted from:
Oprah.com   |   December 31, 2010

Highly Sensitive People: Not Your Grandmother’s Introvert!

sensitive & A-OK!

Samsara HSP Blog

In her national bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, author Elaine Aron defines a distinct personality trait that affects as many as one out of every five people.

According to Dr. Aron’s definition, the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.

Additionally, she says, the success of The Highly Sensitive Person is cause for celebration: “We’ve done it ourselves. And not surprisingly, since we are 15 to 20 percent of the population – that’s fifty million in the United States. Highly sensitive people are real, we exist, and we’ve proven it. That alone is something to celebrate.”

Another cause for Aron and her fellow HSPs to celebrate is the acceptance into mainstream psychology of the HSP personality trait. After numerous in-depth interviews, as well as surveys of over one thousand people, Dr. Aron’s findings have been published in Counseling Today, Counseling and Human Development, and the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Elaine Aron has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a thriving psychotherapy practice. She is the first therapist to tell HSPs how to identify their trait and make the most of it in everyday situations.

Highly Sensitive People have an
uncommonly sensitive nervous system…

– a normal occurrence, according to Aron. “About 15 to 20 percent of the population have this trait. It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long, bombarded by sights and sounds until you are exhausted.” An HSP herself, Aron reassures other Highly Sensitives that they are quite normal. Their trait is not a flaw or a syndrome, nor is it a reason to brag. It is an asset they can learn to use and protect.

In defining the Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Aron provides examples of characteristic behaviors, and these are reflected in the questions she typically asks patients or interview subjects:

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

Dr. Aron explains that in the past

HSPs have been called “shy,” “timid,” “inhibited,” or “introverted,” but these labels completely miss the nature of the trait.

Thirty percent of HSPs are actually extroverts. HSPs only appear inhibited because they are so aware of all the possibilities in a situation. They pause before acting, reflecting on their past experiences. If these were mostly bad experiences, then yes, they will be truly shy. But in a culture that prefers confident, “bold” extroverts, it is harmful as well as mistaken to stigmatize all HSPs as shy when many are not. In the Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Aron reframes these stereotyping words and their common application to the HSP in a more positive light and helps HSPs use and view these aspects of their personality as strengths rather than weaknesses.

Sensitivity is anything but a flaw.

Many HSPs are often unusually creative and productive workers, attentive and thoughtful partners, and intellectually gifted individuals. According to Dr. Aron, HSPs could contribute much more to society if they received the right kind of attention – and her national bestseller proves that this 15 to 20 percent of the population is eager to get off on the right foot in asserting their unique personality trait.

Read more:  There are many websites from both the medical and personal perspectives on HSP (including http://livingsamsara.com/)  and of course Dr. Aron’s book is a classic.

Read Me

THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D
http://www.hsperson.com/

BONUS VIDEO! from Marie Forleo, renowned life & business coach… well in her own words:
“I often say if Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, Oprah and Jay-Z had a love child, it would be me.  That’s because I’m part business strategist, part marketing maven and part spiritual ass-kicker with a side of hip-hop swagger.”
Marie is highly entertaining – and SMART!

Read/see more from Marie on YouTube, or:  http://www.marieforleo.com/archives/

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